An empty hospital corridor with scuffed well worn floors, beige walls, clunky radiators, and an empty reception area behind a tinted window. Two chairs in a hospital waiting area in harsh light, next to a pale green wall that has a photo of an expansive sandy beach at sunset hanging on it. Two ceiling lights are reflected in the picture.

Audio: Opus No. 1, Tim Carleton and Darrick Dee (clip, looped)

[listen to page HERE]

 

 

YOU ARE NUMBER 15 IN THE QUEUE

For Still Remote artist Amy Wright has reimagined the performance piece You are number 15 in the queue to share her experience of waiting in medical spaces. Through text, sound, photos, and video, Amy is offering a soundtrack to waiting that explores her relationship to hold music.

 

BACKGROUND

Since being diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of 18, waiting and hold music has become a constant part of Amy’s daily life. Managing her condition means navigating the bureaucratic systems of health care and being in boring, in-between spaces; both in person, and remotely. 

 

You are number 15 in the queue You used to occupy green chairs, sat in neat rows, facing each other Florecent lights would pierce your eyes and bland walls and bland spaces would invade your space Glossy paper posters stuck clumsily on bullet boards Tattered magazine sat on little lacquered brown tables, their issue number from a few years ago, a celebrities face smiles at the room of unsmilling faces Old paint chips of the wall, an attempt at design from a single stip of purple paint framing a painting of a boring boat at sea Beeps from the digital signs would let you know you were now number 14 in the queue Now you sit on the phone Listening to hold music Static and crinkly, too loud to hold too your ear You sit on your sofa, in your car, in the bath, waiting for your number in the queue to arrive You prune up, well up, get up, sit up, wait up You are now number 13 in the queue

 

The song Opus No.1 by Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel, is used by the IT company Cisco on 65 million phone sets worldwide, including various healthcare services. The unusual, catchy track, filled with bells and synths, has become a ghostly earworm for anyone who frequently navigates these systems. Its duration and repetition can become an annoyance or an obsession, a dynamic which was investigated in a segment for the podcast This American Life back in 2014.

Amy first explored the potential of this haunting soundtrack in a live performance at Bermondsey Art Space in 2022, where she danced in a hospital gown, with a blue, flashing emergency light. A voice periodically cut in to announce the number she was in the queue, and as she got closer to the front, her dancing became exaggerated.

For Still Remote, Amy is presenting a collection of material that documents her experience of waiting. From text that shares the shift from waiting in-person to on the phone, to photos of the empty waiting rooms and hospitals she has inhabited. This relationship with boring, medical spaces explores how illness can be political and how art can attempt to reclaim the agency our bodies lose within these systems.

 

An animation that flicks through shadowy images of a figure in a hospital gown moving in a flashing blue light.

[link to performance]

 

TAKE PART 

Throughout Still Remote, Amy invites you to form a remote queue by using the track Opus No.1 on Instagram or TikTok to soundtrack spaces where you find yourself waiting. Take a photo or video in the mundane, in-between places you find yourself in and share with us!

Elements from this exhibition, and the rest of our programme will be shared across our digital platforms. Find out more about Still Remote and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out.

 

A view of a hospital ward that looks down a bed to a pair of feet and beyond to curtained sections that are completely empty, have a bed with another patient and medical equipment in, and another with medical equipment and an empty bed.

 

 

Artist Amy Wright sat down with hands cupping knees in leopard print dress

AMY WRIGHT

Amy Wright is an artist living and working in London. Her work is about the body as a political space of control; a body that deviates from expected norms and where illness ruptures accepted ways of looking at the world. She graduated from the Royal College of Art, 2021

Amy’s work has been shown in exhibitions in England, Wales, and The Netherlands, including NTS (2019), South Kiosk (2020), Montez Press radio (2021), Bermondsey Project Space (2022), and Art Gene (2023). She has attended residencies at DOOResidency (2021) and TNCE (2016).

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